Nuclear Medicine Technologist

Nuclear Medicine Technologist


nuclear medicine Nuclear Medicine Technologist
The nuclear medicine technologist is a specialized medical imaging professional that performs nuclear medicine studies in the hospitals radiology department or a radiology clinic. Nuclear medicine exams differ from other radiology and medical imaging exams is that they evaluate the organ functionality rather than its anatomical image.

Nuclear medicine is used for the diagnosis of a growing number of medical conditions such as pulmonary embolism, thyroid nodules, renal disease, stroke, liver and gallbladder problems. It is also used therapeutically to treat a number of diseases such as thyroid cancer, overactive thyroid, bone pain and lymphoma.

Nuclear medicine studies use specialized radioactive substances called radioisotopes. Different isotopes are attracted to different organs in the body and go there once administered inside. These radioisotopes emit gamma rays which are detected by specialized cameras called gamma cameras and interpreted by computer programs. If administered in much larger doses, the amount of radiation produced can be lethal to the cells they target and thus can be used to kill cancerous and other problematic cells.


The nuclear medicine technologist handles the radioactive material used in the various nuclear medicine studies and administers it to the patients after thorough explanation. The radioactive material is very sensitive and dangerous and thus must be handled with extreme care by someone who is knowledgeable and trained to do so.

To become a nuclear medicine technologist, one must go into a nuclear medicine technologist program at one of the many accredited nuclear medicine schools for 4 years. There will be many courses a nuclear medicine technologist will take covering physiology, chemistry, physics, math, biology and anatomy. The nuclear tech will also learn about the radioisotopes, the gamma cameras and computer software, all of which are essential in the day to day operations of a nuclear medicine technician.

In the US, nuclear medicine technologist certification is conducted through the Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board (NMTCB). In Canada, the certification is achieved by writing the Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists (CAMRT) examination and then joining the respective provincial governing body such as the College of Medical Radiation Technologists of Ontario (CMRTO).

The field of nuclear medicine is widening and there is accordingly an increased demand for nuclear medicine technologists. This creates job security and makes the career of a nuclear medicine technician a great option. There are also great hours and very limited emergencies and thus very limited after hours or weekend call-backs.

The nuclear medicine technologist salary is rewarding due to the high level of specialization and expertise it requires. Compensation is affected by a number of factors including location (different states and cities have different cost of living), experience, setting, and education. In the US, the median nuclear medicine technologist salary is $70k.








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